1) A Long Sentence

By Manuel Royal
May 28, 2020 · 200 words · 1 minute

From the author: Anonymous commentary re: sentencing in James County Criminal Court.

It was a long sentence, all agreed (once Judge Rickhauser, following hours of deliberation, finally appeared and perched in his chair behind the bench and gazed stony-eyed at the courtroom, looking with his narrow hairless head like a bird of prey, hungry and eager to tear and devour flesh, and spent ten minutes excoriating the defendant, then thirty seconds reading the sentence, flashing an unwonted smile toward the end as he pronounced the word "maximum"); a long, perhaps vindictively long sentence, some said -- including of course Mr. Jawry, counsel for the defense, but also several in the gallery, and even, it was said later -- for it is with the perspective of years, and with the sad knowledge of the momentous events that were to follow (events that no one, not even Dr. Szpetsmund, the prosecution's charismatic expert witness, with his narrow clever eyes and precision of movement, word and thought, and his old-money manners and his degrees from Europe, could ever have anticipated -- events that affected, astounded, even devastated and forever changed all who found themselves involved) that this account is set down -- several members of the jury; yes, an unusually long, perhaps unjustly long sentence.

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